Darwen War Memorial


Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Date of most recent amendment:
Statutory Address:


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Statutory Address:

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Blackburn with Darwen (Unitary Authority)
Non Civil Parish
National Grid Reference:
SD 68930 21860, SD6892921860


First World War memorial. Erected 1921 by the Municipal Borough of Darwen. Bronze sculpture by LF Roslyn.

Reasons for Designation

Darwen War Memorial is listed at Grade II* for the following principal reasons: * Sculptural interest: a distinctive and highly accomplished example of the work of the prominent sculptor LF Roslyn with finely modelled and detailed bronze reliefs and statuary; * Rarity: it is unusual in depicting a female nurse with equal prominence to servicemen; * Architectural interest: a well-composed war memorial which takes maximum advantage of its landscaped setting; * Historic interest: as an eloquent witness to the tragic impact of world events on the local community, and the sacrifices it made in the conflicts of the C20; * Group value: the memorial occupies a prominent position in Bold Venture Park, a Grade II registered landscape.


The aftermath of the First World War saw an unprecedented wave of public commemoration with tens of thousands of memorials erected across the country. One such memorial was designed and sculpted by Louis Frederic Roslyn, and erected in Darwen in 1921.

Darwen War memorial was erected by public subscription and unveiled on 27 September 1921.

Louis Frederick Roslyn (1878-1940) was a London-born sculptor of German ancestry. At the Royal Academy schools he was awarded the Landseer scholarship and a travelling scholarship, becoming a member of the Royal Society of British Sculptors in 1914, and a Fellow in 1923. In 1917 he joined the Royal Flying Corps at the School of Military Aeronautics, around which time he changed his name from Roselieb to Roslyn. Roslyn was one of the most prolific sculptors of British war memorials, which include three others in the vicinity of Darwen: Oswaldtwistle, Rawtenstall and Haslingden; Port Talbot (Wales), Portstewart (Northern Ireland) and Trinidad & Tobago in the Caribbean.

Darwen War Memorial was listed at Grade II on 27 September 1984. It was damaged by vandals in 2014. The damage was repaired shortly afterwards.


First World War memorial. Erected 1921 by the Municipal Borough of Darwen. Bronze sculpture by LF Roslyn.

MATERIALS: Bronze statue on sandstone pedestal.

DESCRIPTION: The memorial stands on a paved five-stepped platform near the north-east entrance to Bold Venture Park (laid out 1889-1914), where it can be viewed to its greatest advantage against the backdrop of a lake surrounded by mature trees.

The memorial consists of a tall, square sandstone ashlar pedestal on a stepped base, surmounted by a statue of winged Victory standing on a globe, holding a laurel wreath aloft in her left hand and an olive branch in her right. The pedestal has a deep cornice, and a torus and cavetto moulding above the plinth. The front (south) face of the pedestal is inscribed: IN GRATEFUL / MEMORY / AND TO THE HONOUR / OF / OVER 1200 CITIZENS / OF / THIS TOWN WHO GAVE / THEIR LIVES IN THE / GREAT WAR / 1914 – 1918 / AND THOSE WHO DIED / IN THE WAR OF / 1939 – 1945. Above this is a carved relief of the Darwen Borough arms flanked by inverted torches.

The west, north and east faces have inset bronze reliefs of figures comprising, respectively, an infantryman, a nurse and a seaman, each panel with a bronze laurel wreath above and a carved inscription beneath: the soldier representing HONOUR, the nurse HUMANITY and the seaman FREEDOM. Dress and weaponry are depicted in detail.

The front face of the plinth is inscribed: LEST WE FORGET; the west: IS IT NOTHING TO YOU / ALL YE WHO PASS BY (a quotation from Lamentations 1:12); the north: THEY DIED NOT IN VAIN; and the east: THEIR NAME LIVETH FOR EVERMORE.

The sides and rear of the platform are enclosed by a series of short tapering posts, four to the sides and two to the rear, the terminal posts with carved lions. The intervening chains have been removed.

Darwen War Memorial was listed at Grade II in 1984. It stand within Bold Venture Park, a Grade II registered landscape.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:


Information on the vandalising of Darwen War Memorial, accessed 14 February 2017 from http://www.lancashiretelegraph.co.uk/news/11292453.Outrage_as__mindless__vandals_damage_Darwen_war_memorial/
Information on war memorials from the Imperial War Museum database, accessed 14 February 2017 from http://www.iwm.org.uk/memorials/item/memorial/3292
Information on war memorials from the War Memorials Online database, accessed 14 February 2017 from https://www.warmemorialsonline.org.uk/memorial/168844


This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

End of official listing

Images of England

Images of England was a photographic record of every listed building in England, created as a snap shot of listed buildings at the turn of the millennium. These photographs of the exterior of listed buildings were taken by volunteers between 1999 and 2008. The project was supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Date: 16 Apr 2003
Reference: IOE01/06811/14
Rights: Copyright IoE Mr Rodney Calbrade. Source Historic England Archive
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